The body parts of NetHack characters are used during the game in many ways. If polymorphed into a monster, you may lack a body part and be unable to perform some task. Such tasks include wearing armor, so if you polymorph into a handless monster, your gloves will fall off.
Messages for different body parts are changed as appropriate, for example if you don't have toes in a particular form, it may refer to your "pseudopod extremities" instead. These descriptions are grouped by a number of different overall body types.
List of body parts
All body parts are defined for all monsters, although some are "empty"—for example, a headless monster still needs to reference a head for some messages. Included in the body parts are special areas for particular effects—for example, how to describe a light-headed monster with no head, or the "blood" of a being composed of pure energy. The body parts defined are:
- Handed (a generic description of the "hands"; for instance, if you have tentacles rather than hands, you are "tentacled")
- Light headed (if you are headless, you may be "played out" or "addled" instead)
- Blood (if not blood, you could be losing "life force")
There are definitions for all groups of these body parts. In addition to being groups, the above are also the names of the body parts used for humanoids.
Default (humanoid) form
You have two hands and can wear gloves on them. The right hand is primarily used for wielding a weapon; the left can wear a shield or wield a second weapon. Some weapons are two-handed, requiring both hands to wield one.
A ring can be worn on each of your two ring fingers. There is little difference between your left and right ring fingers; one difference is that, because all characters are right-handed, a cursed wielded weapon makes it impossible to put on or remove a ring from that hand's finger.
If you encounter an incubus or succubus, the ring of adornment is a special case. Incubi like to put one onto a female character's left hand, replacing whatever ring there currently is. This may be fatal if you are, for example, floating over some water with a ring of levitation.
You cannot put on or remove rings when wearing cursed gloves.
Your eyes can be blinded in a number of ways, such as putting on a blindfold or being attacked by a yellow light. If your eyes are covered by a cream pie or blinding venom, you can use a towel or #wipe to clear it away.
Creatures with a head also have room on the neck for an amulet.
Your feet can wear a pair of boots. They are otherwise bare, so are subject to the same dangers as bare hands.
The bodies of monsters are defined in some detail. Humanoid monsters generally have all of the above features, and hence can wear armor, wield weapons, and manipulate objects. Other monsters might lack hands or a head, or even a shape of any kind. The grouped body types are as follows: